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Federal study of ADHD drugs to look at potential heart risks

September 18, 2007|From a Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Following up on safety concerns about prescription drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, U.S. health officials announced Monday that the government was launching a two-year study to determine whether the medications posed heart risks for adults and children.

Most ADHD medications are powerful stimulants that can increase blood pressure, and last year a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended stronger warnings for them.

A major concern is that the drugs are increasingly being used to treat adults, who are more susceptible than children to high blood pressure and cardiac problems.

The FDA had initiated a preliminary study of the problem, but budget constraints had threatened the research.

The new study will be co-sponsored by the FDA and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a branch of the Health and Human Services Department that scrutinizes issues of cost-effectiveness.

Researchers will review clinical data on 500,000 patients who took ADHD drugs over a seven-year period ending in 2005. They'll search for any patterns linking the medications to heart problems.

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